August 2012 Newsletter

Out of the Box: Strategize ; "The smart way of getting somewhere with the least amount of effort or cost."

By Alison Hendren, MCC, CEO

Developing efficient, supportive and enjoyable strategies to help people achieve their goals is what is key to providing value in coaching. Most people really want and need a strategy to make what they are wanting to accomplish/achieve/solve/create happen. Just recently I was speaking with a client who discovered a critical lapse in communication by her team. They implemented a fundamental change but forgot to communicate it to the key stakeholders! The change was a good one but they just forgot to tell people before they made it...sound familiar?

There was a huge missed opportunity to celebrate the very positive change along with so many other pieces. So, what was she to do? We talked a bit and then focused on what opportunities were present and what strategy she could put into place that would support an even bigger change initiative. By the time we were done, not only had she come up with a way to solve this that would be empowering for her team, but she came up with two key strategies that could profoundly strengthen herself as a leader, i.e. collaboration and innovation.

Here are a few provocative questions to help someone strategize:

  1. What is the most unconventional way to do this?
  2. What if you had no budget for this?
  3. What are you willing to do in order to achieve this?
  4. What's the fastest way?
  5. What's the easiest way?
  6. What would be a great way to get there?
  7. What's the most intuitive, creative, brilliant approach that you could take to accomplish this result and generate six others like it?

AND, here are a few more tips when supporting someone to strategize:

With a strategy, you aren't always working directly on the goal itself, but rather on improving or positioning the environments, relationships, resources, flows, systems or even yourself. So, strategies are very different from a plan. In fact, when you devise the right strategy, the plan becomes obvious. But without the strategy, the plan is merely a set of linear action steps (read: lots of work and often a waste of time). So, as the coach it is critical for you to shine the light on the bigger picture or possibility, take the person up to the 50,000 foot level so that they can really look at what is possible.

Developing efficient, supportive and enjoyable strategies to help people achieve their goals is what is key to providing value. Here are a few elements of Personal Strategies: Integrity strengthened, support structures, fitness/health, community, self-discovery and here are a few elements of Business Strategies: Improved Technology, Pilot Program, Coaching, Strategic Alliances, Incentives, Education, Collaboration, Innovation etc.

Coaching someone to strategize is the ultimate in empowerment. How exciting to be able to support them in coming up with the tools to empower themselves because 90% of coaching happens in between the coaching and years beyond.

Team Talk
3 Key Strategies for Dramatically Growing Your Coaching Skills

by Alison Hendren, MCC, CEO

We at Coaching Out of the Box® are absolutely passionate about everyone developing coaching skills. Whether you are going to use them in your work, life or as a full-time coach the critical component is that you must use them. Reading all the materials on coaching, listening to others coach, attending workshops and conferences are great and wonderful but it just does not cut it unless you are actually coaching in real time, with real people and with real challenges.

Over the years as a coaching educator I have listened to some of the most intelligent and well-educated people eloquently describe what coaching is but when it came to successfully coaching someone there was a huge gap. They had the concepts, etc. in their head but had not integrated them into successful coaching. That is why the smartest strategy for dramatically growing your coaching skills is to coach whenever and as often as you can, here are 3 key strategies to do just that:

1. Don't wait for a special 30-minute or longer coaching appointment.Take moments in the hallway to use some of your coaching skills. We call this "Take 5 Coaching ™". I challenge you to take 5 or so minutes with someone and see what happens, nothing like having a short amount of time to really hone your skills FAST!

Have a look at a few of our Take 5 Coaching™ videos to get an idea. Remember just simply listening to another human being and completely focusing on them is of huge value all by itself.

For those of you who have experienced our Flagship 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™ use that model to practice, i.e. take the 5 core coaching skills and use those, then the next few times integrate them with the 5 components of a coaching exchange and then finally and ALWAYS focus on "who" you are being as you coach, i.e. curious for example. Have a "cheat" sheet in front of you as you coach. Listen, professionals have clipboards, blood pressure machines, calculators, etc. it is OK!

2. Teach some of the key skills . Take it upon yourself to literally teach others a few of the skills. I, myself, dramatically grew my skills once I had to start teaching others - it made a huge difference! Who can you bring coaching skills to? Who could benefit from learning how to really listen? Who could benefit from learning how to encourage someone in a way that is genuine, sincere and specific? If you had to teach someone the key components of listening what would you say they were, i.e. focused attention? Nodding?? Listening to what they are saying and not saying?? What else?

3. Be willing to coach someone in front of others...yes that is right..."in front of others". Find an opportunity to actually demonstrate even just one coaching skill in front of others. You do this and the other two above and within the next month you will have used 3 key strategies that will dramatically grow your skills while at the same time make a difference for others even if you stumble BECAUSE your willingness to be vulnerable and make mistakes is a HUGE example for others. No master coach I know ever got to where they are by playing it safe. Get up on a stool, sit across from someone and be committed to being completely focused on them and providing value.

Coaching + Courage = BRILLIANCE!

Calendar of Events

Looking to take your coaching to the next level? Wanting to bring the coaching conversation to your organization?

We have quite a few training events getting under way beginning in September that you won't want to miss! To obtain a copy of our calendar of events, please click here.

Quote of the Month

"If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing."-Marc Chagall

Heart is where the conviction and belief resides and head is often where fear and limiting beliefs live. How do you get your coachees to connect with their hearts and get out of their heads?

What Would You Do?

You have a coachee that comes to their coaching session in a state of anger and frustration which is making it difficult for them to focus. What would you do?